Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Austin at 3.5

My sweet middle is 3.5 today! And as soon as he catches on he'll make sure to let everybody know. =) He always enjoys adding that and a half after saying how old he is. Although it seems like just last week he was telling everybody he was 2.5. Gracious. I can't believe my littlest big boy is half way to 4!

I've given myself a goal of writing a little update about each boy on their birthday and half birthday... at least while they're little... so today is all about Austin at 3.5. =)

*You start the day around 6:35 on school mornings (we have to wake you and Garrison up) and are in bed around 8:00 every night.

*You still nap for an hour to an hour and a half every afternoon and you still love to sit in my lap for me to read to you before naptime every day.

*You have a big imagination. You even have an imaginary friend... Sally. We hear lots of stories about Sally and her mischievous ways. You also tell us fun stories about other (imaginary) friends from your (imaginary) school that are quite entertaining. =) You and Garrison also have lots of fun playing Wild Kratts or rescue bots or superheros. I love seeing and hearing your imagination at work.

*So far, year 3 has been the year of the meltdown. Ha! Overall, your personality is very laid back. You forgive easily. You go with the flow easily. You love unconditionally. But since turning 3, you are emotional and unpredictable and can throw down like nobody's business. Meltdowns are a pretty regular thing around here. But we know it's just a phase and whenever they do occur they truly are out of character for you.

*You are a really great brother! You love playing with Garrison and he is your absolute best buddy. Y'all have so much fun together and are super close. Even though y'all can fight like crazy you love each other deeply and are each other's favorite person. You're also a pretty great big brother to Layton. You are my helper with him during the day and love to make him laugh. Even though you're a tad on the rough side with him it's all in the name of fun and brotherly love. =)

*We've discovered your love language (at least currently) is physical touch. You are still our cuddle bug. (Which I'm so thankful for!) You still like being held. You love to sit in our laps. You like having your back scratched. You give the best hugs all the time. You are always kissing me on the cheek or arm or leg totally out of the blue. I know I've said this before but I hope you always keep this sweet, affectionate way about you.

*You're a bit of an inconsistent eater but your favorite foods right now are Nutri Grain bars, cereal, ham, string cheese, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, yogurt, raisins, tacos, spaghetti, chicken, cheeseburgers, and chili.

*You never meet a stranger and are the friendliest most sociable little man we know. You're also a bit of a charmer and flirt and all the ladies we know totally eat you up. They can't get enough of you! =)

*While you have an outgoing personality and never mind being the center of attention, you are very apprehensive about new places and situations. You're easily overwhelmed and intimidated by loud noises/places and BIG places that are new to you. You're also our safety first child when it comes to trying new things. Which as your mama, I can really appreciate!

*You have been a GREAT student this year doing school at home with me! I've loved teaching you and all of our fun school time together. =) I'm also very excited for you to start preschool next year. I know it will be good for you to get some time away from me and the house and I know you'll love going to real school!

*You may be our middle child but so far you show very little, if any, characteristics of a middle child. You and Garrison still come as a pair, or equals, and are the big boys of the house. The 2 of you do pretty much everything together except big school. You receive the most attention out of all 3 boys right now because you're home with me all day and you're awake longer than Layton is. You hold your own and are never lost in the shuffle or overlooked. You've never been jealous and have just embraced the little brother and big brother roles so, so well. I'm hoping and praying that you and your brothers always feel important and loved and special... because each of you are!

*Baseball, skittles, playing outside (as long as it's not too hot), Garrison, back scratches, your favorite shows, potato chips.. these are a few of your favorite things. =)

We are so blessed by you Austin Selph!! You are the sweetest, smartest, most fun, most hilarious, most special 3.5 year old we know! Happy half birthday little man! We love you!!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Friday Favorites: The Week of No Snow Edition

This week was back to the routine for us. Sunday night and Monday morning were kind of tough for our biggest boy (and his mama who felt emotional over her baby's struggles) but we managed to adjust quickly to going back to school. Phew. Unfortunately it was freezing and raining all week long. Except not freezing enough apparently because we never did get our wintry mix. Even though friends and family to the north received multiple days of snow and school closings it wasn't meant to be for us. Such a bummer because we were really hoping to see the white stuff! Maybe next year. Despite the weather, or lack thereof, we managed to have an overall good week.

Here are my favorite moments from our cold, wet week of no snow...

*Sunday morning matching sweetness! Sometimes I'm totally in awe that God saw fit to give me 3 boys. Especially when they're running wild and things are totally crazy around here! But also when I pose them in their matching cuteness for a picture. So thankful God blessed me with them!

*On Sunday afternoon we made a visit to see Terrell's Granny who is currently doing rehab for a broken hip and then headed over to the DQ for a sweet treat on a cold, rainy day. Yumminess!

*It's a rare thing for me to have to wake Layton up but when I do it's the most precious sight just before. Can't get enough of my sweet baby!  

*My school time went well with Austin this week and I think we're back on track. Yay! I'm excited to start a brand new theme with him next week... The 5 Senses! I was able to do lots of planning this week so hopefully I'm prepared and Austin will enjoy it.

*Every afternoon this week when it's time for the big boys to slow down and calm down, we've played a game of Yahtzee. They are so into it right now. Layton isn't a big fan since he has to watch from his jumpy but thankfully he always lets us get in a game or 2. =)

*Earlier this week the whole fam ventured out to "Art Night" at Garrison's school. The big boys got to paint a ceramic coffee cup and we made a stop by the Book Fair to pick out some new books. It was a pretty fun family outing!

*Totally unprompted and completely on his own, Garrison wrote and illustrated this story about a race car. I just love it!

*Layton is getting fast at pushing things around! And he is so proud of himself! He also really enjoys his big brothers pushing him around on his riding toys. Never a dull moment around here. =)

Today we're off to the pediatrician for Garrison's 6 year well-check plus Layton has another little check-up too. Then we have a fairly low-key weekend coming up and plan to enjoy it to the fullest. Happy Friday!!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Another Day in the Life of Us

Bright and early yesterday morning, out of the blue, I decided to make yesterday a day to record for a day in the life post. I hadn't done one of these since I started my new job and my last one was in September so the time was right. I love and appreciate these so much. They are definitely worth the time and effort!

Even though I left out the details of our bad news about our house in Covington (another post for another day), which put a damper on the 2nd half of our day for sure, I included every other detail I could remember.

Here's a look at the happenings of our day start to finish on yesterday...

I started the day at 5:15 as I always do on school mornings and was ready around 6:00. Then I did my quiet time, took Bailey out and fed her, and started on breakfast before waking the big boys up at 6:35. The start to our day looked really promising until everything for my middle man went downhill at breakfast. This is him under the table mid-meltdown... something about his cereal and muffin. Sigh. Being 3 is emotional and HARD. And don't forget emotional. Gracious.

 Thankfully daddy came to his rescue and all was well in the land of Austin again. Yay. =)

While the big boys had breakfast, Layton woke up pretty unhappy (normally if he's content we wait to get him up after Baby A arrives) so I made his bottle while Terrell got him up and changed his diaper and wet pjs... hence the unhappiness. Then we traded. Terrell took over with the big boys and got them dressed and ready (technically Garrison gets himself dressed but Terrell still brushes his hair and makes sure his teeth get brushed, etc) and I gave Layton his bottle. As Layton was finishing up his bottle around 7:15 or so, Baby A arrived.

By 7:30, Terrell and Garrison were heading out the door to school and work and I was busy in the kitchen making breakfast for the babies. Austin played with superheros and rescue bots and cars while I made breakfast and fed the babies. Yay for Austin getting in some unstructured independent play! I was done feeding the babies by 8:00 so I moved them both to the living room to play while I cleaned up the kitchen and started a load of the boys' clothes. Then, by 8:30 both babies were down for their morning naps. Austin asked to watch a show while I put them to bed so while he finished up his show I read some of my favorite blogs and straightened up a little.

As soon as Team Umizoomi went off, Austin immediately said he was ready for school! I haven't heard those words in a while so I was pretty thrilled. This week we've just been doing activities or reviews of things we've done before. I'm currently in the plan and prep stage for our next theme. =)

We started "school" by him spelling and tracing his name. Then we played "War" with cards numbered 1-20. He's got comparing numbers down and is doing really well learning to write his name!

After finishing "school" Austin got to choose what he wanted to do with me and of course he chose to play games. We played Yahtzee Jr twice. The game of choice lately.

After finishing up Yahtzee I encouraged Austin to pick something to do that he can't do while the babies are awake. Something that involves small pieces or building something he doesn't want knocked down. He decided to do some drilling with our design and drill set. I helped him get his picture set up and then he went to work drilling. This was a mostly independent activity so I was able to sneak away to check my calendar and to-do list and put clothes in the dryer.

At 10:00 I get Baby A's bottle ready, wake up both babies, change diapers, and then feed Baby A. After that we have about an hour long stretch of play time. The living room gets covered in toys and this is my get on the floor and play time with them. Austin isn't super impressed with this time and is just spinning his wheels big time, so he typically always gets to watch another show. Which he did yesterday as well. Once Austin's show went off he picked out board books for me to read and we have a little story time with the babies and read to them and sing to them. It's my longest time of the day (Austin's too, haha) but I think it's a pretty fun time for the babies.

Around 11:15 I get the babies "contained" and head to the kitchen to make everybody's lunch. We usually eat around 11:30. Lunch is always really busy but everybody is happy and thankful to be fed so it's all good. =)

After lunch Austin has to clean up any of his messes/toys that aren't put away and then he gets to play on the Kindle or Leapster while I clean up the kitchen and get the babies put down for naps. (The babies play in the living room while I clean.) Once I'm done cleaning up I try to have a clean up time with the babies. I sing the clean up song and they watch me clean up. Haha. Then I get diapers changed and both babies down for naps around 12:20 or so. Yesterday I think they both were asleep by 12:30ish. Then it's Austin's turn and he is hopefully asleep by 1;00. We do early naps so everybody can hopefully get in good naps before it's time to pick Garrison up.

Naptime is what I consider my "planning period". Ha! Yesterday I didn't do a lot of planning but I did fold a huge load of clothes and watched one of my favorite shows I watch without Terrell...

At 2:00 I wrap up my "planning" and make the big boys' snack, empty the dishwasher, make the babies' bottles, and prepare to get everybody up. Yesterday Baby A woke up first so after he took his bottle I got Layton up and then Austin was up shortly after that. By 2:40 I had everybody's jackets on and we were loading up to go pick up Garrison. So thankful to have a car big enough to do this!

I snapped this picture of the backseats as soon as we got home. 2 rear facing babies in the middle and 2 big boys in the back. =)

The boys came in and ate their snack while Baby A played and I gave Layton his bottle. After snack time the big boys get to watch a show (usually Clifford or Wild Kratts) and I go through Garrison's book bag and empty his lunch box. Around 3:45 Baby A's mom arrives and the big boys' show ends. Then it's homework time. Thankfully Garrison's teacher doesn't give homework on Wednesdays so we just went over some sight words and then it's wild and crazy play time! I try my best to let them play hard for a stretch after school.

My mother-in-law came over to pick up the big boys for choir around 4:40 yesterday afternoon since the weather was messy and so I wouldn't have to get Layton out. While I love getting out of the house when I can, it's definitely a blessing having Nana pick up the big boys on days I need her!

Layton and I enjoyed our one-on-one time and then I got started on supper. Chili and bake potatoes!

While I was trying to load some things in the dishwasher, this happened... for the first time ever! He loves himself a dishwasher. =)

 Then this happened... another new trick!

Terrell picked the boys up from choir and once they got home around 6:00 we got ready to eat supper. The perfect meal for the weather! After supper we let the boys play and then watch something before bed and we wrapped up the day with the boys by reading together on the couch. Layton and I listened while I gave him his bottle.
All the littles in the house were in bed by 7:45 so I worked some on this blog and then we watched the Hawks and talked a lot about our house selling woes. I think I was in bed around 10:20.

And that was another day in the life of us. The Selph fam had a pretty normal, good day. Even a day that contained disappointing news wasn't too bad.

But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out it's roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; it's leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit. Jeremiah 17: 7-8

Meditating on these verses and trusting in the The Lord today even though His plan is unclear! Happy Thursday! 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Layton's 1st Birthday Party

On Saturday we celebrated our baby boy's 1st birthday! And I'm happy to report that everything went smoothly and turned out really cute and fun! Even the birthday boy (who didn't really know what was going on) seemed to enjoy himself. =) Other than a boycott of his morning nap, everything went off without a hitch. Yay!!

The theme for Layton's party took a while to come to me. I really wanted something 1st birthday appropriate (which I know is up to each individual's interpretation... so 1st birthday appropriate to me) and I really wanted something that stood out as "the one". We actually thought we had settled on a theme until I came across a "Frogs, Snails, and Puppy Dog Tails" cake totally by accident. And as soon as I saw that cake this theme tugged at my heart and I knew this was going to be the one. It was meant to be! I mean what little boys are made of lives here! And totally fits 1st birthday appropriateness to a T for me. I was thrilled. =)This theme wasn't the easiest but it was pretty perfect for our 3rd baby boy and his very 1st birthday. I loved it start to finish.

My awesome friend and go-to, personal graphic designer designed the invitation for us again. We were just in LOVE! I absolutely treasure all 3 of my babies' 1st birthday invites with the 3 little pictures of sweetness oozing right off of them. Thanks again Megan!!!

Family picture before the party! 

Our colors were blue, brown, and green (like the invite), but unfortunately we found out Saturday morning our balloon order wouldn't contain any brown. Boo. I know that would've been super cute, but the blue and lime green combo didn't disappoint so everything turned out A-okay. The foyer table held the matte of Layton's monkey pictures, his baby book, and his framed invitation.

Dining room table and centerpiece... which I ordered from Etsy and loved a lot. =)

The kitchen table centerpiece was something my parents had done for all 3 boys at Buggy Days. It's a special name keepsake of the root, meaning, origin, and personality traits of that particular name.   

My baby in his overalls plus a puppy dog. =)

The cakes! So adorable and soo yummy! 

We fed everyone sandwiches, chicken nuggets from CFA, fruit and dip, and chips and dip to kick off the party. Layton was super tired due to refusing his nap that morning but thankfully AnAn was able to keep him happy at the table until we were ready to open presents. And by happy at the table I mean constantly giving him more and more food. He ate and ate and ate until it was time for presents. He just doesn't seem to ever get full!

Presents time!

He did really good with participating in the present opening process in the beginning. He smiled, tore some wrapping paper, looked at his cards...but after a while he kind of lost interest and crawled away and big brothers had to step in and take over. =) After everything was opened though he was pretty smitten over all the fun toys he got. Yay!

We went straight from opening presents to getting ready for cake. (It should be noted the highchair Layton is sitting in was mine as a baby. That would make it 31 years old and still going strong. Ha.) Layton wasn't too impressed with everyone singing to him. Haha! Thankfully he never burst into tears even though I think he wanted to at one point. He went from overwhelmed and intimidated to dazed and confused. Poor baby was so tired by this point he just didn't know what to think about a crowd of 19 family members singing to him. =)

Baby boy might not have been impressed with everybody singing Happy Birthday but he was most definitely impressed with his cake! He sampled it right away without needing any prompting or encouragement at all. He licked his fingers and enjoyed lots and lots of icing right from the start. =)

Eventually, we helped him "smash" into it, but for the most part he consumed what he wanted all on his own and loved every bite. 

He finally got a little tired of his hands being covered in icing and just tired in general so we got him some of his water juice and wrapped up the smash cake fun. Meanwhile his big brothers helped themselves... notice all the missing dots... 

Layton's 1st birthday was lots of fun and memorable for all of us. Especially our party of 5! We loved celebrating with our littlest member and watching him enjoy all the fun that came with his 1st birthday! Our big boys were very involved and just the sweetest big brothers during the party.

We are SO thankful for Granna and Papa hosting Layton's party at their house and for our amazing families being there to help us celebrate. First birthdays are most special for the birthday kid's family and we have the best ever! Thanks for loving and celebrating our babies the way you do!!

Happy 1st Birthday again to our sweet Layton Thomas!! We love you more than you know!